Georgia finally got its first commitment for 2010 when Dalton defensive end Jalen Fields committed to the Bulldogs during UGA’s Junior Day on Saturday.
“I told [Mark Richt] and he was hugging me and my family,” Fields told the AJC. “Georgia is the place I want to be. I believe in [Richt] and Georgia. Coach Richt has already done so many great things at Georgia. I’m a hometown guy, so there was no need for me to look around anywhere else. Georgia is where I want to be, and it’s an honor to be the first [commitment] for next year.”
The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Fields picked UGA among seven offers, including Tennessee, Alabama, and FSU. Had Fields waited longer, he was expected to double or triple his scholarship offers.
“I like ‘Coach O’ a lot [Tennessee recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron], but Georgia was my first offer and my first love,”
Lane Kiffin says Tennessee’s infamous shirt-ripping stunt on Junior Day was “the best story you could ever have” for recruiting football players to Rocky Top.
The topless tactic was perhaps the most creative and most bizarre recruiting strategy in SEC football history. Tennessee had many of the nation’s top 2010 prospects on campus, and the Volunteers went to extreme measures to make sure they remembered the trip, as reported by the AJC. [Click here for a full recap].
Kiffin talked extensively about the benefits of the controversial method to CBSsports. ”It’s the best story you could ever have. You can’t get all these recruits on your campus. You’ve got to convince them to take an official visit. What better way when they read about this.”
“We had numerous kids the next day [say] this was the best junior day I was ever at. They had a blast. They said, ‘These coaches are so intense, so high energy. You can tell they’re going to win here. Tennessee is at
Georgia coach Mark Richt was generous with his terms on cutting loose Dexter Moody. Richt confirmed with the AJC that the prized prospect who signed with UGA last month was given an “unconditional” release. There are no strings attached, which means Moody could end up playing against Bulldogs in the future.
“You always want the best for people. If it doesn’t work out for someone here at Georgia, then you want them to be successful somewhere else,” Richt told the AJC on Wednesday evening. Richt declined to comment specifically on Moody, citing NCAA rules.
Unconditional releases are unpopular across the college football landscape these days. Miami quarterback Robert Marve was granted permission to transfer from the Hurricanes, as long as he didn’t suit up for a teams in the SEC, ACC and state of Florida. Later Miami eased up a little on the restrictions, saying Marve could play anywhere except for ACC
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, who became an instant celebrity with his “I’m a Man, I’m 40″ rant on YouTube, said his famous tirade to defend one of his former players is helping the Cowboys with recruiting future players. Even Gundy admits he never anticipated the recruiting benefits from the emotional outburst which got so popular it was the punchline for jokes.
“No, I didn’t expect it, in any way, shape, form or fashion,” Gundy told the AJC. “It’s interesting since that day, which happened on impulse in my opinion, to protect and take care of one of our players, I didn’t have any idea that it would take off like this. From that point on, for good or bad, I’ve become very recognizable across the country.”
“In turn, what has has happened in the last couple of years in recruiting, it has helped us tremendously. I think the parents of
Who will be UGA’s first commitment for 2010?
Somebody has got to be first. Who will it be? How much longer will it take before one of the highly-regarded juniors coveted by Georgia finally pledges to sign with the Bulldogs?
Juniors are committing to colleges all over the country. Texas has 20 early commitments, while Florida has seven, according to Rivals. South Carolina has three, as does Alabama, including North Gwinnett’s Austin Shepherd. Georgia Tech has one 2010 commitment, Collins Hill tailback Charles Perkins.
What about Georgia? Last year by signing day, the Bulldogs had five early commitments, all in-state players. UGA recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner was asked why he didn’t think the Bulldogs had any juniors committed this year by signing day.
“That’s not true,” the poker-faced Garner said.
Garner could’ve been teasing. But more than likely, one of Georgia’s junior
It’s one thing to sign a heralded recruiting class. It’s another to see if they all make it through college admissions to football practice in the summer.
Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson feels really good about his 21 recruits, led by Flowery Branch’s Izaan Cross. ”As long as everybody finishes with the grades they have now, I think everybody is good,” Johnson said last week. “As long as they maintain in school what they have and get there. It’s a sliding scale with test scores and GPAs, as far as NCAA qualifiers go. If everybody we have stays with what they have, then we should be OK.”
UGA wrapped up its 2009 class with recruit No. 20, tight end Orson Charles of Tampa. At least six Georgia recruits have told reporters over the last few months that they were “close to meeting college entrance requirements,” with the biggest names being ECI teammates Washaun Ealey and Dexter Moody, along with defensive end Montez Robinson of Avon,
NEW: Meet some of Georgia’s hottest rising senior prospects in the Class of 2010 and share your thoughts on where they should consider signing, what they should work on and if they’re all that
The P-word is scaring some of Florida State’s top recruiting targets. “FSU is not as high as they were with me because of probation,” said Newnan safety Alec Ogletree, who is considered Georgia’s No. 1 prospect with 33 early offers. “Florida State was my childhood favorite. I’m still open to them. I’m just not sure about getting involved with any program on probation. We’ll just see how it all plays out.”
Gainesville’s Blake Sims has been offered by FSU as a dual-threat quarterback. “That hurt me a lot when they got on probation because I was so high on them. My feelings have jumped back a little bit. I want to go to a school where I can trust everybody on the coaching staff. If I go to a school that has been put on
When you’re one of the nation’s top college prospects involved in a high-stakes recruiting sweepstakes, the easy thing to do is picking a winner among several offers. The hard thing is informing the runners-up that you are going elsewhere.
Many elite prospects avoid this gut-wrenching aspect of recruiting altogether. Some will have their high school coaches deliver the bad news to the losing schools. Some will have their parents call. Some will send a quick text or email, or call the college and pray it goes directly to voice mail. Some won’t do anything, letting the runner-up schools find out at the signing ceremony with everyone else.
Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said Tech’s 45-42 win over Georgia, snapping a seven-game losing streak, has had an impact on the recruiting trail. ”Certainly, it doesn’t hurt when you can beat your in-state rival. It’s got to help. It gives you more credibility within the state. But it can’t be an one-time deal. We’ve got to be able to repeat it.”
“Georgia has a lot of advantages in the state, from perception or whatever. And a lot of it they created themselves. They’ve done a nice job. You try to find guys that fit your system, and there are good enough players in the state of Georgia that both schools can get good players.”
Johnson and Georgia coach Mark Richt have both said they expect to compete against each other more often for the state’s top 2010 prospects. “Have we got to come head-to-head sometimes? Sure we will,” Johnson said. “We did last year. Not a lot, but some.”
Tight end Orson Charles of Tampa, one of the nation’s top unsigned seniors, was scheduled to pick March 6, 2009, between Georgia, Tennessee and Southern Cal at 4:30 p.m. EST. Here are 10 reasons we here at the AJC thought O.C. just might pick UGA. (And we turned out to be right on.)
10. Be Like Herschel (Just Sign Earlier) — The most famous Georgia Bulldog also waited until after signing day. Herschel Walker, the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner, signed his college papers in April. APRIL.
9. You Can’t Spell “Superior College Football” without “SEC” — The Southeastern Conference is considered by many to be the country’s best for college football, and home to the last three BCS champions. Georgia began last season ranked No. 1 in the nation.
8. TE + UGA = NFL — Georgia has an established reputation for sending tight ends to the NFL (see: former standouts